Effective October 11, 2022, the ban on short-term visas will be lifted for foreign travelers entering Japan, including for business travel.  This relaxed measure will apply to foreign travelers from 68 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong.  All travelers from countries not subject to the lift on the ban of short-term visas will continue to require a separate visa application for entry into the country, regardless of purpose of travel.*

Also on October 11, 2022, the limit on the number of travelers entering the country will be eliminated entirely.  The cap on entry was recently increased to 50,000 in early September.

As discussed in prior articles, the restrictive measures have been place for much of the COVID-19 outbreak.  As the Japanese government continues to relax its entry restrictions into the country amidst a historically weak Japanese yen, the Japanese government hopes this will promote tourism in Japan and encourage spending by foreign travelers.

* Please visit this link for further information on the current entry restrictions and quarantine measures.

By the end of August, there were reports indicating that some Indian consulates and the local registration authorities in India started requiring foreign nationals seeking or holding Employment (E) visas to provide proof that their salaries were being paid or were paid in India. Most recently, it seems like the Indian government reversed this requirement. Although no formal announcement was made either as to the payroll localization requirement or the most recent reversal, the move is a welcome change for global employers, many of which choose to maintain foreign assignees on their home country’s payroll.

Continue Reading India Reverses Payroll Localization Requirement for Employment Visa Holders

Effective October 1, 2022, Singapore will only require certain applicants for work pass renewals to be fully vaccinated. Specifically, only Work Permit and S Pass holders employed in the construction, marine shipyard, or process sectors, or those staying in dormitories, will be required to be fully vaccinated to apply for renewal passes. All applicants for new passes must continue to be fully vaccinated. The announcement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is expected to ease the renewal process for many MOM pass holders.

Continue Reading Singapore Updates COVID Vaccination Requirements for Work Passes

*This blog was originally posted on September 9, 2022. It has been updated with additional information on September 26, 2022.

Effective September 29, 2022, Taiwan will fully reinstate visa-exempt travel authorization for all previously eligible foreign nationals. The move represents one of Taiwan’s most significant steps toward normalizing international travel procedures and reflects a growing trend toward relaxing entry restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-related entry requirements remain relatively strict in East Asia compared to the rest of the world, countries including Singapore, Japan, and South Korea have begun rolling back obstacles to international travel.  

Continue Reading Taiwan to Fully Restore Visa-Free Entry

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has announced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, to take effect on September 26, 2022.

Snapshot Summary

These amendments impact the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, and the International Mobility Program, placing greater responsibility on employers to protect the rights of foreign workers.

The regulatory amendments aim to protect foreign workers’ rights and to improve employer compliance by addressing gaps in worker protections, workplace conditions for foreign workers, and ensuring access to information on employment rights, as well as focusing on providing improved access to healthcare services for foreign workers.

Continue Reading Foreign Workers’ Rights Enhanced in Canada Through New Regulatory Amendments

On August 24, 2022, Singapore’s Ministry of Health announced a relaxation of the country’s COVID-related entry restrictions for international travelers. Specifically, as of August 29, travelers who are not fully vaccinated are no longer required to complete a seven-day home isolation period after arrival or complete post-arrival PCR testing. Singapore’s announcement is part of a recent rollback of COVID-19 entry requirements by various countries in East Asia, including Japan and South Korea.  

Continue Reading Singapore Relaxes COVID-19 Entry Requirements

On September 1, 2022, the Chilean government announced a reduction of entry requirements for visitors entering Chile, including eliminating the requirement of the International Travelers Affidavit and vaccine standardization.

Entry Requirements Reduced for Visitors

  • It is no longer necessary to complete the C19 affidavit, an electronic “International Travelers Affidavit”, which was previously required to be completed and submitted within 48 hours of boarding a flight arriving in Chile.
  • Non-resident visitors may enter Chile with the vaccination certificate issued by the country where they were vaccinated.
  • Non-resident visitors holding an up-to-date vaccination certificate shall be considered equivalent to holding a Pase de Movilidad (“Mobility Pass”).
  • There are no requirements to enter Chile for those under 18 years of age.
  • Travelers may still be subject to random COVID-19 testing upon arrival. If testing positive upon arrival, quarantine will be required for an amount of time to be determined by Chilean authorities.

Non-vaccinated, non-resident visitors must still have a negative PCR test result within 48 hours of traveling to Chile, and test results may be required by both the airline and by authorities upon entering Chile.

For Chilean citizens and foreign residents of Chile, these entry requirements remain in place:

  • Travelers over 6 years old must still complete an electronic “International Travelers Affidavit” within 48 hours of boarding.
  • Any positive PCR tests of travelers from the previous 14 days, or any high/low risk contacts, will result in additional monitoring.

Please continue monitoring COVID-19 legal developments on our blog, The Mobile Workforce.

Effective from September 7, 2022, Japan will waive the pre-departure PCR test requirement for triple-vaccinated travelers (currently all travelers entering Japan are required to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure). Business executives will still need to apply for visas as all visa waivers remain suspended. Tourist and other visas are still highly restricted; foreign tourists are only allowed to enter Japan if they are part of an organized group tour.

The quarantine measures for travelers from certain countries will continue to apply as well regardless of vaccination status.1 A pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of departure will continue to be required for travelers who have received less than three vaccine shots or have not received vaccines from a manufacturer recognized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. 

Separately, the Japanese government announced its intention to increase the quota of daily entrants into Japan from 20,000 to a number to be announced in the near future (expected to be around 50,000). The Japanese government has also indicated that it will continue to gradually relax the various COVID-related measures that are currently in place for international travelers. 

1 Please visit the following link for further information on the current quarantine measures: https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html.

In advance of hosting the FIFA World Cup in late 2022, Qatar has announced new restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals. Specifically, all foreign nationals seeking to enter Qatar as visitors will need to carry a “Hayya” Card as of November 1, 2022. Visitors must hold match tickets in order to qualify for the Hayya, which can be applied for online. Qatari citizens and foreign nationals holding a residence permit may continue to enter Qatar as usual. Qatar’s move to require foreign visitors to hold match tickets in order to enter the country has been anticipated since a draft decision of the Ministry of Interior earlier this year.

Continue Reading Qatar Restricts Visitor Entry During World Cup

As countries around the world have begun to loosen or even eliminate entry requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan has maintained comparatively stringent restrictions on entry by foreign nationals. However, the Japanese government is increasingly easing these restrictions, allowing larger numbers of foreign nationals to enter the country through several different visa pathways. While major restrictions remain in place, foreign nationals seeking to enter Japan now have greater opportunity to do so than at any point in the last two years.

Continue Reading Japan Begins Easing COVID Entry Restrictions for Foreign Nationals